The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical
Disciples


Volume I: The life of Dr. Virgil Hart / with stories about Dr. Edgerton H...
brief things she described after I gave her pictures of Wuhu and Dr. Stone, pictures that
she had lost in a house fire, br...
I want to acknowledge that I borrowed heavily, re-writing from Virgil Hart Missionary
Statesman, Notable Women of Modern C...
Volume I



Dr Virgil Hart: Man On a Mission



I & II "The Call" "Fellow Farers True"        XVII "The Re-Established
Mis...
XIV "For Canada"                                          XXVI "Two Eventful Years"



XV "The Chinese Tartarus"          ...
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________


...
Seated: Dr Virgil Hart, daughter: Estella Hart (Hare), 2nd son: Edgerton Haskell,

wife: Adeline Gilliland Hart; Standing:...
III "Outward Bound" IV "The First Field"



After spending a harrowing six month trip aboard a schooner, Mr. and Mrs. Hart...
chair was the main mode of transportation offered. As the pathway narrowed a wheel
barrow became an alternative means, and...
grudge against a lowei (foreigner), could entice stone throwing or physical harassing of
the coolies, to bring on injury. ...
The first western medical dispensary in Kiukiang



VII "By River & Lake"
In order to fulfill his duties of building missions along the Yangtze River, it was
necessary for Virgil Hart to travel by...
Seeking shelter in a small creek to wait out the time for more welcome quarter one can be
deceived at anchor as to how str...
“Glad Tidings” with the city of the home port they hailed from included. For a score of
years these sailboats plied the in...
establishing the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society. The purchasing of property from
the Chinese was always a difficult ma...
Though Wuhu was made a treaty port in 1877, it was not until 1881 that Virgil Hart and
the Rev. M.L. Taft arrived to rent ...
The hospital was built at the crest of the hill and at its base were the Girl’s Boarding
School and residences for the mis...
Nanchang City Arch, one of many surrounding it.




XI "Change But No Rest"



It was unfortunate that Virgil Hart did not...
by the great Dr. Ida Kahn, a girl’s boarding school and the embryonic beginnings of what
was to become the University of N...
Nanking is halfway between Kiukiang and Shanghai, with easy access by both ship and
carriage, and for eight generations wa...
return to his native land, they still taxed him for going-an inconsistency that was hard to
explain. When the day comes th...
Nanking Methodist Hospital



Soon two native men came to inform Virgil Hart there were two properties matching his
needs ...
alongside them. One day a fight broke out between the opposing groups and for a couple
of hours bedlam was unleashed with ...
In the spring of 1887, after four years' absence from his wife and family, Virgil Hart
boarded a steamer to return to the ...
process till the summit was attained. Not another large valley or plain was seen for over
several hundred miles until reac...
Yangtze river Chinese sailors



Virgil Hart arrived in Ichang on an evening of festivities with red lanterns studded for
...
The ascent of the rapids was a life entrusting experience that could never be forgotten.
The boat pitched to and fro while...
The Chinese government had at strategic points along the river a coast guard to provide
things like clothing, food, beddin...
thousand years connected the temples that dot its hillsides. Virgil Hart observed in one
temple nine coiled serpents whose...
He met the underworld magistrate face to face; The underworld magistrate was to
switch places, informing the new magistrat...
them. For sustenance they consumed rice, bean curd or gruel and was no wonder they
curled up around the kerosene light, ro...
Opium smokers in a den.



XVI "The Re-established Mission"



The Chunking Mission was begun in 1882, by L.M.Wheeler D.D....
city”. Another claimed to have procured a book showing a dragon
around the city with its head immersed in one river and it...
populace a few months before the anti-foreigner disturbances, Hart exclaimed, “such was
the irony of fate”.



Two weeks a...
was less than twenty paces with a wall of separation between them. Underlings rushed
about with instructions from the abse...
(OWM) photo
(OWM) photo
A journey of four days over lofty mountains brought the parade to the fertile valley which
skirted the Min River and the S...
(VHMS) photo


XVII "One Step From Heaven"



What Jerusalem is for Christians, or Mecca is to Islam, Mt. Omei is to the B...
worshiper. One still ascends the mountain by hewn steps carved into solid rock with
flights of them being counted in the t...
Placed in a tray before a scarred image in the monastery, a red rag still hides one of the
most venerated relics in the wo...
Little rest was afforded by excited guests loudly conversing or immersed in opium
smoking, eager for the coming day. While...
“benighted souls!” How the missionary’s heart went out to the devout vainly groping
after peace and comfort. As one Omei m...
virulent form and he decided the stalled trip back stateside was long overdue. The down-
river trip was exceedingly diffic...
from his goal of returning to China. The Methodist Missions of Canada had but one
station in Asia located in Japan, and wa...
remembered by after the sermon was read. A issue of God-speed was harked by the
congregation prior to the dismissal of the...
Coal bunking a ship                                    Mt. Fuji from Hakone
Lake




Walking through the streets afterward...
open crevices some miles in length. This was a trifle compared to the city they left just
two days before feeling the brun...
Each day brought its share of thrills. A tale to share is when a Chinese boat captain
defied the long line of upstream boa...
Eight days out of Ichang a memorable incident etched a dark shadow on every-one's
soul. A man, dying from addiction to opi...
The clumsy cormorant appears rather daft on land, yet when wing meets water, its grace
underneath is a skill not to be equ...
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford
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The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford

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Chinese City History, Chinese Western Medical History, Religious Studies, Woman's Studies, Dr.Virgil Hart , Dr. Edgerton Hart, Caroline Maddock Hart, Dr. Mary Stone, Shi Mei yu, Dr. Ida Kahn, Cheng Kang, and Jenny Hughes

Chinese City & location history of, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kaiting / Leshan, Jiujiang, Nanchang, Lushan, Kuling Boyang Lake, the Yangtze River, Little Shoe Island / Xie Xia, Big Shoe Island / Shou Gou Shan, Anqing, Wuhu, Nanjing, Shanghai and Tzeliutsing China.

Stan Crawford Photo Collection, Hart & Stone Nursing Scholarship Fund Awards Ceremony, mission statement description and photos.

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The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples By Stanley Crawford

  1. 1. The Middle Kingdom's Western Medical Disciples Volume I: The life of Dr. Virgil Hart / with stories about Dr. Edgerton Hart & Caroline Maddock Hart Volume II: The life of Dr. Mary Stone, Jenny Hughes, Dr. Ida Kahn & Mariam Wong Volume III: The History Of Kuling & Historic Lushan Chinese version Preface I want to thank all those who have been a big part of helping me in creating this book with special mentions going to my Aunt Cathy Green, Aunt Carol and Uncle Ken Eikelmann and my older brother Steve & his wife Terri Crawford, who tolerated my rants to help contribute/edit the Hart work. To the KAS members (Kuling American School), Peter Burt and his wife Adrienne for their editing efforts on the Dr. Mary Stone and Dr. Ida Kahn portions too. To the Jiujiang To-Win Translation Co., who are responsible for the Chinese version page and the Jiujiang Public Library for all its work in page layout and publication help. With a special thanks going to the verbal translation services of Samuel Shui, Nick He Guang, Huang Xiao Kui, and others that without their assistance, much of my information gathered would have been more of a challenge than it was. The years of stories I was told by my grandmother, my great aunts Helen and Rose and what snippets of memories I have of my great grandmother whom we visited every Sunday afternoon until her death. I also want to thank the authors of the books which provided much of the information I used in writing my own. Thanks also go to my Hart relatives who kept such rich and detailed writings of the things they observed while providing medical care and educational training to the Chinese people. This future book and present site is to provide the reader with a pictorial glimpse into the past through the eye of an American family that committed itself through three generations of building and providing western medical care and education to the Chinese people from 1866-1924, with my own photos of the same places today. The book tells of the lives of two remarkable Chinese women: Dr. Mary Stone and Dr. Ida Kahn, the first western educated female Chinese doctors to hail from what is the city now known as Jiujiang, one of many pearls along the ever flowing and sometimes over-flowing Yangtze River. Included are now three more additional generations of people, one my grandmother and her sisters and brothers, who lived a part of their early lives in Wuhu, traveling to Kiukiang and Kuling for holidays spent with many other mission families gathered for festive occasions. I was introduced to Mariam Wong by a newspaper reporter who did the article on the Hwa Feng Chiao Bridge at the end of the page. The
  2. 2. brief things she described after I gave her pictures of Wuhu and Dr. Stone, pictures that she had lost in a house fire, brought many tears of joy once again to recall stories of her life to and share with her family, I expect to add in the future. These never ending stories as a child would weave my imagination into mystic lands of exotic people and wonderful things to behold. Now living in China as a teacher of English at Jiujiang University has allowed me to seek out these places my family once trod, and to meet people who know about my former relatives. Their memories and interpretations have provided me the information to re-tell the stories to a new generation of family and Chinese people who are interested to know who personally represented the Methodist's Missions and others which had so much impetus to facilitate what are the medical and teaching colleges of some of the cities within China today. Half of the revenues generated from sales of this book are going to the Caroline Maddock Hart, Dr. Mary Stone and Dr. Ida Kahn Nurses Scholarship Funds at Jiujiang University. If revenue warrants additional scholarships will be created in the name of Dr.Virgil Hart and Dr. Edgerton Hart at both Jiujiang and Wuhu medical colleges. There is a U.S. donation account that will manage and forward these monies to the students awarded. Scholarship selections will be based on their submitting a life story of their future intentions and of their need, based on their family's annual income. A similar account will be available to accept Chinese donations and be awarded to the chosen recipients too. If interested, your donation is greatly appreciated and will serve a needed student's desire to continue the cause begun many years ago. It currently costs just under 10,000 RMB or $1,250 for tuition, books and dorm expenses per year: a good bargain compared to many western institutions. Jiujiang University also accepts applicants from western students and currently hosts medical students from: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Malawi, Niger and Pakistan, with foreign teachers from: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, England, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Nepal and the U.S.A.. Website: Jiujiang University E-mail:fao@jju.edu.cn Another 10% of revenue will go to the Jiujiang Public Library for children's programs (local & rural) and books needed to fill their shelves. Dr. Virgil Hart saw the need to begin the education of children at an early age to provide future students to attend the medical schools and teachers colleges that were created out of the mission stations. The goal was to help China with her desire to develop and become a brother of nations all the world should be striving towards. Your contributions and sharing of this book will broaden the development of these opportunities for children who desperately want to improve the quality of their lives.
  3. 3. I want to acknowledge that I borrowed heavily, re-writing from Virgil Hart Missionary Statesman, Notable Women of Modern China, The History of Kuling and Historical Lushan. Many mission news references and stories told by my grandmother and great aunts are all combined together with my own personal observations and experiences. This is not an accurate historical record, merely a work of entertainment with added actual historical events and circumstances observed by myself. Photos displayed are a combination of the Hart Family collection, digitized copies from old mission news notes and family books that are available also on-line with links below, and my own. These photos are not to be used for personal monetary gain by unauthorized individuals. Virgil Hart Missionary Statesman by E. I. Hart Our Western Mission by Dr. Virgil Hart Notable Women of Modern China by Margret Burton Western China by Dr. Virgil Hart Historic Lushan by Albert Hendrix Stone The Temple and the Sage by Dr. Virgil Hart The History of Kuling by Edward Little The Chinese Government: A Manual For Chinese Titles by William Fredrick Mayers _______________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________ Table Of Contents
  4. 4. Volume I Dr Virgil Hart: Man On a Mission I & II "The Call" "Fellow Farers True" XVII "The Re-Established Mission" III & IV "Outward bound" "The first field" XVIII "One Step From Heaven" V & VI "Central China" " On Furlough" XXIV "Appeal unto Caesar" VII "By River & Lake" XX "The First Contingent" VIII "A Movement Forward" XXI "Beginnings" IX "Ichi san / Pheasant Hill" XXII "The Work Expanding" X "The Porcelain city" XXIII "Bolt From the Blue" XI "Change but No Rest" XXIV "The Work Resumed" XIII "Turned Back" XXV "Visit To An Outstation"
  5. 5. XIV "For Canada" XXVI "Two Eventful Years" XV "The Chinese Tartarus" XXVII "Worn Out" XVI "The Seductive Viper" Dr. Edgerton Hart: In His Fathers Footsteps Caroline Maddock Hart: Note: The Chinese words for cities or titles are from Dr. Virgil Hart's writings and used throughout the book. The names used today can be ascertained by replacing the K's with a J, Example Kiukiang / Jiujiang. The exception is with the name Kuling, Edward Little chopped the English word cool, created a modified Chinese twist to it Kul and added ing to finish it off. _______________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________ _
  6. 6. _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________ Dr. Virgil Hart: Man On A Mission by Stanley Crawford
  7. 7. Seated: Dr Virgil Hart, daughter: Estella Hart (Hare), 2nd son: Edgerton Haskell, wife: Adeline Gilliland Hart; Standing: 4th son: Virgil Ross, 1st son: Evanston Ives, 3rd son: Maynard Manson I "The Call" II "Fellow-Farers True" My great-great-grandfather Dr. Virgil C. Hart felt a calling to serve his fellow human as a young man in upstate New York, U.S.A., in 1854. After graduation from Garrett Biblical Institute in 1865, he accepted an appointment from the Methodist Episcopal Church to serve as a missionary in Foochow, China. He proposed to his sweetheart of only a few months named Adeline Gilliland, who had been told by a fortune teller that she would travel to far away places and have five children, four of them boys, a prophecy later fulfilled. Virgil told her to only consider his proposal if she was willing to spend her life in China.
  8. 8. III "Outward Bound" IV "The First Field" After spending a harrowing six month trip aboard a schooner, Mr. and Mrs. Hart spent a year in Fuzhou, Fujin learning the Chinese language. Then they were told their first place of residence would be Kiukiang, Kiangsi, which had become a treaty port in 1860. Upon arrival, there were only 30 Americans and English nationals mainly involved in the customs and Consular office affairs who were occupying a concession of land by the river facing the western walls of the city. Kiukiang was where the Methodist Missions of Central China built the first western hospital in the province that is today the #1 People's Hospital. V "Central China" VI "On Furlough" There was a Scottish preacher who spent more time consoling a liquor bottle on Saturday night, than amongst his lowei flock and the Chinese people that came to St Paul’s Church on Sunday. Virgil Hart was asked to relieve this tormented soul and thus he began to eagerly discharge the sermons there for the next 20 years. The anti-foreigner sentiment was strong but there were three Chinese families that aided Virgil Hart greatly. A day school was quickly organized and begun with 3 students that swelled to 14 after a few days of the word getting out about its existence. This was contested by evil men who gossiped that the foreigner would whip the children and cut their eyes out, to be used as telescope lenses, so that to continue a native teacher was hired to educate the children. Soon after arriving in Kiukiang, Mr. Hart was sought by a Chinese man who had heard about his being there and requested he make a journey inland to meet other men anxious to see him. After a day's travel south, they came upon a temple where many had gathered to hear the “Mu Si” or great foreign teacher. Virgil Hart made five journeys similar to this his first year in Kiukiang. These journeys into the countryside were by no means easily undertaken for the Chinese road system was unlike today. Boats were the easiest when water was available or where the road on land was broad and fairly level, a sedan
  9. 9. chair was the main mode of transportation offered. As the pathway narrowed a wheel barrow became an alternative means, and when the gradient became steep, a horse was the most efficient mode of moving forward, if available. Enclosed Sedan Chair (NWMC) Photo Chinese Wheelbarrow (NG) photo Accompanying him were one or two coolies to carry the food, bedding and supply of books on forays. Sleep would be found in a temple or accommodating home for the “Foreign Devil”. Passing though hamlets was not an easy task as agitators who held a
  10. 10. grudge against a lowei (foreigner), could entice stone throwing or physical harassing of the coolies, to bring on injury. One such instance occurred when they were ambushed while trying to cross a long bridge. After getting away from the mob they required a convalescence stay in a temple for several days before Virgil Hart could return from the journey. Not being easily intimidated Virgil Hart would return to the very spot upon where the altercation had taken place just to prove he could not be driven from the field, and through humor and reason gained the respect of the Chinese natives.
  11. 11. The first western medical dispensary in Kiukiang VII "By River & Lake"
  12. 12. In order to fulfill his duties of building missions along the Yangtze River, it was necessary for Virgil Hart to travel by boat, but using local transportation was both tedious and unsafe. So when the opportunity unveiled itself in the mid 1870’s, he took it. He had heard of an unfortunate sportsman who had lost a sailing ship in a card game to a friend of his who had no interest in the craft. The man knew Virgil Hart was looking for such a boat. Formerly named “The Mad Cap”, Virgil had it rechristened the Stella, after the name of his youngest child and only daughter. It was 13 m long and had a beam of 3m and could accommodate six passengers easily. Many a long and interesting trip was made on it along the Yangtze River, around Boyang Lake and its tributaries. In 1877, it was decided the whole family would attend the mission conference held in Shanghai by sailing the Stella the 700 klms there. Sailing down the rushing Yangtze River and back again would require many weeks and all were excited to take the risk. After everything was tucked away, the boat cast off from Kiukiang port and for two days the sailing was smooth, but the morning of the third day brought ominous signs of headwinds and dark clouds.
  13. 13. Seeking shelter in a small creek to wait out the time for more welcome quarter one can be deceived at anchor as to how strong the wind is actually blowing. It was no sooner they were on their way when they wished they were back again. They were in the center of the river and tacking towards the north bank, when horror struck by the mast snapping at its base, crashing towards the stern, bringing the saturated sail down into the river with the rain coming down in torrents. The boat was turned onto its side, spilling all the contents and people into the water. What was to be done with no other boats on the river, in a fast treacherous current with winds approaching a gale force? The crew, stricken with fear, lay prone-like on the deck moaning and clinging to what they could. The children were in the cabin with wife Adeline by the tiller, while Virgil Hart leaped upon the cabin roof and ordered the sail be cut from the mast and make it secure. This action helped to right the boat, but as the storm increased directing the boat by rudder was futile, being driven by the mercy of the wind and waves. Imagine to their delight when spying down river the trimmed cut sails of a foreign schooner! It appeared at first to not see the distressed sailboat flying the stars and stripes, but after passing came about and lowered her sails. After a tow rope was secured they were pulled to a creek and let off to ascertain the damage to put the little sailing ship back into condition once again. Luckily a cargo of camphor logs was found nearby with a carpenter hired for two days to resume their stalled journey down the river. Many great cities were passed, all important stopping places for supplies and shelter, making late the arrival of the Hart family to the conference. A house was rented and coolies hired to bring water by shoulder pole from the “Bubbling Spring” well a mile away to be poured into large jars or tanks in the back of the house. These coolies were not honest men and on hot days would not trek to the well. Instead they drew water directly from Sochow Creek in which flowed the drainage of hundreds of houses, filthy streets and miles of shipping waste, with just the thought of it making one weak. The result was Virgil Hart and two members of the family were smitten with malaria, which for weeks kept them alternatively convulsing with burning fever and shaking chills. Thought to be cured of this disease, it was to return upon Virgil Hart in his later years and a more virulent form sapped his vitality and shortened his life. Later it was decided by the mission headquarters to have a steam boat built to carry out work by its force. Money was collected to commission an English shipbuilder to make the craft and it was transported on the deck of an ocean liner to Shanghai. However, Chinese officials notified the American counsul they would not allow the “Glad Tidings” to ply the inland waters as planned. The reason advanced was if the missions were allowed to operate their own steamers, then soon foreign merchants and local ones would demand the right also, thus increasing the smuggling and cheating the customs and duty fees already denied the government. For four years the “Glad Tidings” lay in dry dock till Virgil Hart suggested it be sold before its depreciating value made it worthless. After it was sold, three sailboats similar in design to the Stella were ordered with the name
  14. 14. “Glad Tidings” with the city of the home port they hailed from included. For a score of years these sailboats plied the inland waterways of central China to deliver mission medical supplies and gospel where needed. VIII "A Forward Movement" In an article written in 1874, Virgil Hart wrote, “I frequently climb the hills for inspiration and to get a wide sweep of the broad, rich fields given us to cultivate. I return to the dirty, noisy streets refreshed and encouraged to plod along and continue the work of assisting the local people. When shall railroads and carriage ways wind through these broad valleys carrying the the riches of the this great State to and from its metropolis? Will it be in my day? My judgment says no, but my faith pierces to a higher flight as my heart beats quicker for the coming of China". Before many a year had past, Virgil Hart was able to see his deep longing dream of medical missions materialize. It was through countless hours of meeting with mission superintendents and repeat letters of petitions to mission Secretaries to encourage the recruitment of teachers, medical missionaries, physicians, and nurses; and for building dispensaries, hospitals, schools and colleges. In one letter he exclaims, “Experience has taught us some valuable lessons in that to open new stations in China and prosecute vigorous work there is no influence so powerful as that of the art of healing”. “If ones' spiritual work is to be effective, what more effectual means than to heal the sick, and alleviate the pain of suffering, for the doctor and teacher are welcome where the preacher is scarcely tolerated....To allay prejudice, to inspire confidence and to produce gratitude, there is nothing to compare with the healing art”. In what seemed excruciating long time there came the reply from the mission rooms in New York that large appropriations for Central China had been approved and reinforcements would soon be on the way so the long desired plan could be put into action. The first place to be occupied was Chinkiang a city of four hundred thousand souls at the junction of the Yangtze River and the Grand Imperial Canal, giving it direct communication with most of the principle cities and provinces in central China. A few hours sail north was the city of Yangchow with a population of a half a million. The story of the founding of the Chunkiang mission would not be complete if no reference was made to the important contributions Superintendent Virgil Hart made in
  15. 15. establishing the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society. The purchasing of property from the Chinese was always a difficult matter especially in those days, but particularly it was so if the negotiations were to be carried out by the foreign women which were contrary to normal Chinese etiquette. Virgil Hart was called upon by the Woman’s Missionary Society to render help by protecting them against extortion or fraud for land and the contracts for buildings. In Chunkiang today sits the splendid site of the Girls' Boarding School and Woman’s Hospital, an eloquent testament to his foresight and good judgment. Chunkiang is 170 klms. upriver from Shanghai and all up-river ferries made ports stop there. It once used to be the most heavily fortified city in central China, but a few hours of shelling by the British gun-boats leveled its forts in 1842 and the Chinese were slow to forget the damage inflicted upon its ego. This retarded the progress of successful mission work in the area. Soon after the British bombardment, the city suffered severely from the Taiping Rebellion with its population being reduced to 25,000. Yet Chunkiang was phoenix-like rising from its ashes to become a important commercial center. A treaty port with about 200 foreign residents and the Gold & Silver Islands, the city was covered with ancient temples and monasteries. One of the most interesting is the Iron Pagoda cast and erected over 2,000 years ago. It was believed that by placing a stick or twig at the base of the pagoda a person would be immune from back pain. When Virgil Hart arrived in Chunkiang in 1880, there was a dedicated Dr. White and his wife who built a dispensary and small school, but after five years were ready to migrate to Europe. IX "Ichi san/Pheasant Hill" Three hundred miles upriver from Shanghai where the Yangtze River makes a broad sweeping curve westwards, nestling in a fertile valley is the city of Wuhu, one of the chief rice exporting centers of China. Its massive walls surrounding it and the weather worn pagoda facing the anchorage were built some fifteen centuries before. From this “Peaceful” city came the notorious Koo Sou Whai whose crimes plunged more than one foreign persons home into mourning. There were few places in China where the anti- foreign sentiment was as pronounced or bitter as found in Wuhu. So hostile were its citizens to foreigners residing there they could not obtain life insurance policies as their risks were too great a gamble.
  16. 16. Though Wuhu was made a treaty port in 1877, it was not until 1881 that Virgil Hart and the Rev. M.L. Taft arrived to rent a house on a main thorough-fare with the intent for the Rev. James Jackson and his wife to occupy it. Virgil Hart wrote he was like a “steam engine”, wishing the mission had more men like him. Two years later a choice location a mile from the center of town, just upstream from the port was secured. It was a wooded hill lot that was surrounded on two sides by the meandering Yangtze River named Ichi san or Pheasant hill. The area around was known as a sportsman’s paradise with foreigners gathering from different parts of the river to explore the hills and streams for wild bore, deer, and fowl. Virgil Hart said if he had a gun in the boat he could have shot and retrieved them off the river. "Pure breezes cool its heights and porpoises frolic in waves along its rocky shores" is a poetic description once given. After contracts were signed it was realized the British counsul had its eyes on it for a long time, working through Chinese officials to secure it as a future British consulate, but were too late. The alert actions of Virgil Hart cut through the red-tape of officialism.
  17. 17. The hospital was built at the crest of the hill and at its base were the Girl’s Boarding School and residences for the mission staff. Travelers after learning the hill was occupied by missionaries were known to exclaim they live like royalty. Though it is doubtful one of these globe-trotting travelers would be willing to trade their life for a day with those faithful servants, some who spent twenty years or more upon a solidarity piece of real-estate on the banks of the Middle Kingdom's greatest river. The names of three physicians admired by the people of Wuhu should be remembered with the hospital at Ichi san, that is still the largest hospital complex in all of Anhui. One is Dr. Stuart, the original mission doctor when the hospital began, who was also the first president of the University of Nanking. Another is Dr. Chung a native who declined an offer of the Chinese Imperial government for a salary five times what he received from the mission, being forever thankful to be delivered from his paganism. The last person to note is Edgerton Haskell Hart who was the second son of the great Superintendent of the Methodist Mission in China, Dr. Virgil Hart. X "The Porcelain City" It was said that Kiangsi was completely independent from the rest of China, supplying it with five times more rice than it consumed. It had the largest lumber mart in the country, exported more tea than any other province, and was the original place and one of the few places in the world to manufacture porcelain. For more than 2,000 years the city of Chintekching (Jingdezhen) has produced porcelain of such magnificence it was the only material to touch the emperors lips besides gold, silver or precious stones. The capital city of Nanchang, across Boyang Lake is where the staging of porcelain began its trade route distribution points to places outside of China. It is therefore obvious why Virgil Hart steered the Stella in its direction, though on one occasion the local people spanned the width of the river with a cable to hinder his progress, and threw stones while shouting “Kill the Foreign Devil!” Finally they gave up on expecting to sway Virgil Hart from his intentions and a telegram was sent to the New York mission offices declaring a house had been rented in Nanchang Foo. "We have reached the center from which we can go in every direction throughout the province". In 1882 as the plans were being drawn up, Mr. Hart requested several hearty men to be sent there. Little did anyone know that this call would go unheeded for some twenty years and it would not be a man doctor, but a native Chinese woman named Dr. Ida Kahn that answered the call to become the dominating mission personality for this great city.
  18. 18. Nanchang City Arch, one of many surrounding it. XI "Change But No Rest" It was unfortunate that Virgil Hart did not go back to Nanchang many years later, to see the fruit of the seeds he planted that became one of the marvels of mission history in China. The one little rented home became a Woman’s and Children’s hospital directed
  19. 19. by the great Dr. Ida Kahn, a girl’s boarding school and the embryonic beginnings of what was to become the University of Nanchang. In 1881 after frequent bouts with malaria, Virgil Hart decided he needed a year of furlough and left for the United States via Europe. While in London he had estimates solicited for the “Glad Tidings” steamship mentioned earlier and one month later he was in upstate New York with his family. XII "The Pride of the Yangtze" "Here Virgil, you should establish a hospital," exclaimed Adeline to her husband in 1881, as they were standing on the deck of a steamer at Nanking. This was the inspiration for what became a future Hospital, girl’s boarding school, the University of Nanking with its famous medical and theological colleges and other important institutions. The Nanking mission became the crowning ambition of his Superintendency for central China. It was strange that so important a city had been neglected by the great missionary bodies of China. Chinese officials had employed several foreigners in the manufacture of weapons and ammunition there, but of the missionary societies possessed no arsenal of members or a battle plan devised when it came to send out the doctrines to win the hearts and minds of Nanking residents.
  20. 20. Nanking is halfway between Kiukiang and Shanghai, with easy access by both ship and carriage, and for eight generations was the capitol of China. It was one of the largest and most cultural of Chinese cities with its art and literature, and thriving satin and silk business, produced by one hundred thousand weavers on twenty thousand looms. Mr. Hart imagined that Nanking might once again become by its geographical location the capitol city of a rejuvenated people and modern China. It was the site of numerous magnificent temples with its shining star being the Porcelain Pagoda, the pride of the Yangtze, glory of the nation with its nine shining stories, casting a shadow of over four hundred feet and costing more than three point five million taels of silver to erect the world’s first skyscraper. This important city should not be left to grope in pagan darkness. While he was home on a much needed furlough he attended the Methodist Mission annual conference in New York where he addressed the committee with a proposal for ten thousand dollars to build and equip a hospital. Dr. Fowler wrote to Virgil Hart by letter to meet in San Francisco with a Mr. Blackstone who was willing to furnish the required funds requested. The Superintendent had his prayers answered with a great burden lifted from his heart. En-route he stopped in Salt Lake City where he had an experience he would never forget. The police chief had been shot by a black man who was lynched within less than ten minutes of the murder. His dead body was dragged around the streets being kicked and pounded by the angry mob, resulting in swift and retributive dispensation of western justice. About Mormonism, which was dominant in the city, he commented, “No transient visitor can measure the effects of an evil upon the lives of a people”. It required some sort of redeeming quality towards its institutions or it would be like a rose with no water, "shrivel up and die in the desert sun”. He found it strange women were content to live under such conditions that Mormons required at the time. He sat through a sermon which he said was full of bombast, making little sense with the preacher stopping in mid sermon to eat and drink. On the morning of September, 6th, Virgil Hart embarked in San Francisco upon the “City of Peking” steamer with over six hundred China men being crammed like sheep into steerage with the berths so taxed that over 100 of them could not find any sleeping quarters the entire voyage. Every man had to show his poll-tax ticket. Although the people of California were anxious to get rid of the Chinese in those days, wishing him to
  21. 21. return to his native land, they still taxed him for going-an inconsistency that was hard to explain. When the day comes that Joe China-man can retaliate and get his revenge for indignities heaped upon him by the political and commercial representatives of our much- vaunted western civilizations. "What a hue and a cry will be raised throughout North America when our citizens will be subjugated to the same humiliations we throw upon the incoming and resident Chinese". While the ship was being tossed about the ocean several amusing occurrences happened after two missionaries (husband & wife), who took sodium bromide for their sea- sickness. Their appearance throughout the voyage of matted hair, swollen lips and nodding off on a moments notice was most entertaining. One day the good doctor staggered up to Virgil and said “bromide is good for sea-sickness; I haven’t been home- sick yet”. Virgil Hart closes his bromide encounter with,” I’d rather be sea-sick for a month, than act like an idiot for a week" and be recalled as an one for a lifetime. After visiting Japan for several days, Virgil took a steamer to Shanghai and then on to Kiukiang where the annual mission meeting was going on. Not only did he get a warm welcome from his fellow mission brothers, but especially his old friend and tutor Tai Sien Sen, whom he had not seen for ages. He held a feast in Virgil Hart’s honor and after the fifty plus course meal that took several hours to consume, all felt like anacondas that had just eaten water buffaloes. The months that followed were busy ones for the superintendent making his home on the Stella and then on the “Glad Tidings” sister city sailboats, going up and down the Yangtze River searching for more land for hospitals, signing contracts and supervising the construction of the buildings, this being the most fruitful and meaningful time of his life in central China. Now that Virgil Hart had the money to build the mission hospital at Nanking the only thing missing from the grand plan was property on which to build it, which proved to be a real challenge. "What could nations and its citizens learn from others that were born just yesterday in comparison? Is it a curse amongst the impudent and unsettling foreigner? No they must not be allowed to get a foothold in the city! Any citizen that will part with their property for personal gain to the 'Foreign Devil' will be treated as a criminal and traitor." This was the attitude of the little world the Nanking official and literati when Virgil Hart was in search of a piece of property within the sacred precincts of the city. He knew that treaty rights gave him legitimate reasons to purchase property within the confines of the city and he was determined to stand fast even if it meant the rest of his natural life. He suggested to his tutor that he act as the go-between him and the deed holder of property parcels near the south gate. Tai was terrified at the thought of this endeavor as he knew it placed a bounty on his head for whatever it was worth.
  22. 22. Nanking Methodist Hospital Soon two native men came to inform Virgil Hart there were two properties matching his needs and a couple of nights later, with the shadows concealing true intent, he went to inspect their boundaries and set fire under Tai’s feet to begin negotiations with its owners. Four months later Virgil Hart had the deeds in his hands on small yet valuable properties between the Arsenal and Powder Mills road intersection. When Tai’s skills were no longer needed he hurriedly left the city and returned to the safety of Kiukiang. Several months later another valuable parcel was acquired near the North Gate. But the battle had just begun as the deeds required registration and official stamps of the Viceroy and be presented by the proper official, which took months to figure out just who this person might be. Some thought it was the Tao Tai of Chunking while others claimed it was the Tao Tai of Nanking who had the authority and after this matter cleared up there was a wait of several more months to get him to act. There were meetings scheduled with no-shows, arrests, intimidation and incarceration of the poor men who sold the property and even officials feigning illness to avoid the continuance of the matter. Every time the Superintendent was shafted or insulted, he demanded an apology from the Viceroy's office until it sunk into the cranial depths of these officials that this lowei was not to be deceived by their stalling tricks or turned aside from his purpose. At last they capitulated and met the “Foreign Devil” to meet at a sight more agreeable to the Superintendent to get down to business. A letter Virgil Hart wrote to Mr. Blackstone who the hospital would be named after relates the magistrates met to hammer out the land bounties and all matters concerned therewith amicably settled. Whereby the mission received more than twice the amount of land as described on the original deeds, resting less than a quarter mile from the Confucian Temple which is the finest structure of its kind in all of China. With negotiations settled Virgil Hart turned his attention to contracting the materials and workers needed to complete the hospital by the end of the year. By personally managing the process of construction, he was able to save thousands of dollars that otherwise would have gone into the pockets of a Chinese contractor and his middlemen. With a command of the Chinese language there could be no misunderstanding between boss and laborer. Old Nanking, the “Devil’s” stronghold, shall yield! Just when Virgil Hart thought his most pressing problems were over new ones cropped up. There was the issue of half the workmen coming form another province causing dissension amongst the Nanking artisans who strenuously objected to workers employed
  23. 23. alongside them. One day a fight broke out between the opposing groups and for a couple of hours bedlam was unleashed with the pulling of braided hair and bloody disfigurement of faces. A missionary attempted to intervene, yet he too suffered the wrath and was pulled badly beaten from the chaos. Soldiers finally came to quell the riot. Virgil Hart was unfortunately away on pressing issues in Chunkiang and quickly returned and began an investigation, demanding the ringleaders be punished and compensation for damages done to both the building and missionary injured. A day later when Virgil Hart came to see if retribution was carried out he was assured by his foreman those who were guilty each faced two hundred lashes with a cat-of-9-tails before being fired for insubordination. The men did not leave on their own accordance, but where hauled out by stretcher as the pain of punishment set in. When Virgil Hart arrived later and offered to mend the men’s wounds, all feigned to be in too excruciating a pain, but after he removed the girdle from one and seeing not so much as a scratch on the mans flesh, realized the master trickery and charade being a bunch of humbug. Virgil Hart’s troubles did not end with the workmen; those higher up the chain of command gave trouble and demanded a share for their efforts. "Even his trusted tutor Tai had to be dismissed after it was learned he was squeezing everyone from the hod carrier, gate-man, carpenter, mason and even the tattered beggar asking for alms out front had to pay for the privilege to this Chinese Shylock....The Tammany Braves of New York in their halcyon days are but just children in comparison with the Nanking grafters”. The red letter day arrived on May, 28 1886, when the hospital opened its doors to receive its first patients. Thirteen high Chinese mandarins graced the occasion with their presence along with the Honorable Commander Charles Denby, the United States Minister to China, Mr. E.S. Smithers who was the Consular General of the U.S. in Shanghai, along with the officers and sailors of the USS Marion, as its brass band provided the musical accompaniment. As everyone sat for the feast it was the mandarin delegation that provided the entertainment with their unfamiliarity in the use of western tableware or manners. It was a shocking surprise to have women not only at the table, but seated next to them with their own wives and daughters denied this simple western etiquette. Two days after the banquet, Dr Beebe was called upon to the home of one of the mandarins where two of his wives attempted to commit suicide by swallowing opium. Without the missionary’s care the two women would have certainly died, proving the wealth of relief the new mission hospital did provide the native Chinese. XIII "Turned Back"
  24. 24. In the spring of 1887, after four years' absence from his wife and family, Virgil Hart boarded a steamer to return to the United States for only a second time in the twenty one years of being away. As he was walked the ships gangplank he received a telegram from Bishop C.H. Fowler which informed him of his new role as superintendent of the West China Methodist Missions, and requested him to return to Chunking at once to re- establish the mission there which was so tragically brought to a close by the anti- foreigner riots. Torn between the a well deserved furlough and the pressing plea from his associate, he prayed for a few minutes, then had his baggage withdrawn to shore, his ticket canceled and preparations made for the long, tedious and perilous journey to Chunking. Virgil Hart was accompanied by three other men whose steadfastness of mission work took precedent over matters personal. At Hankow they spent several days with fellow mission members before continuing on their trip. The ship was the antiquated “Kaiting” which was at a disadvantage with the rapids of the upper Yangtze, for every time it blew its whistle the boat would cease its forward momentum. The boat was a considerable amount of amusement or irritation depending upon the mood of the passengers. The distance between Hankow and Ichang where steamers are halted is three times longer by river than air, and the captain declared it would take between five to ten days depending on the fogs, with no mention about the possible delays on account of the worn-out tub they were aboard. People walking alongside the road near the river, would gain forward ground at a quicker pace than the wheezing, coughing and sputtering steam engine. The head engineer came on deck pleased to see how she was tacking at about four knots per hour. The year previous when the boat was full during high water season he commented on how the boat was falling astern from the load it was hauling. Just after saying those words a pyrotechnic explosion was heard from the engine room as the engineer raced frantically back to the aft parts of the ship to find out its cause. Virgil Hart threw his hands into the air in disgust to return to his cabin and attempted to sleep off the frustration. Another story about the cruise was when the “Kaiting” was hugging the shore due to high water and as the boat began falling astern, all hands were called on deck as people jumped ashore with lines thrown to them, pulling the boat forward to round a bend in the river. The scenery above Hankow is dotted with the occasional hill, its fertile plains annually deposited with silt from the previous years flooding spread on them. As one approaches Ichang, the hills close in upon the river, constricting its channel by walls of limestone and granite. Fleets of Chinese junks sauntered in motion or at anchor gave the appearance of resource-thrift management rarely seen anywhere else on the river. The men observed oxcarts with loads of timber weighing down heavily on their rough hewn beds, as wheels big as a man slowly turn with the rotating joints crying out in pain through the spikes and rims made of iron as wooden dowels fasten the spindles together. Ascending narrow, steep water rutted pathways to hug the fog-blanketed cliffs till recesses within its walls were reached and a turn of several rocking agitations brought the team to reverse the
  25. 25. process till the summit was attained. Not another large valley or plain was seen for over several hundred miles until reaching the Chengtu plains. They saw nothing but mountains or every type of configuration one can imagine. Nestled between karst rock formations were the temples, dagobas and pagodas protruding from their recesses. The ear splitting drum and cymbals pounded, mouth organs and bamboo flutes squelched out uneven staccatos of rhythm with chimes tuning in when their delicate notes were required like a songbird.
  26. 26. Yangtze river Chinese sailors Virgil Hart arrived in Ichang on an evening of festivities with red lanterns studded for miles, suspended from any resource capable of their support to resist the pull of gravity. Loud-reporting strands of fire-crackers were a constant agitation to the ear. Ichang had been an open port since 1877 with a population of one hundred thousand natives and 50 foreigners of which a dozen are of mission stock representing three or four different societies. Several days were passed as a nerve-wracked Virgil Hart searched for a river worthy flat bottomed boat suitable to take them past the remaining rapids and up to Chunking. It was about seventy feet long, eleven wide with a draft of four feet, low and flat at the bow with a grotesquely carved stern. It had two aft cabins, one for the “louban” (Captain & family), the other for the foreign guests. The thirty crew-mates, cargo and any other native passengers aboard rode out on the open deck. It had a bamboo awning which could be spread out at night under the safety of anchor, but it was ill advised to keep it so during the day to impede the suns rays, in case quick rope handling was needed to assure the boat didn’t capsize. The bow held a huge coil of rope to pull the boat through the rapids and a long oar to facilitate direction. Along its sides were two yiu lo (oars), that required the strength of several men to manipulate and at the stern a rudder of several timbers lashed and spiked together that protruded several feet below the keel. The strange craft would be home for the missionaries for a month after the captain walked every inch inspecting it to assure its readiness. A chicken was killed as an offering to the river gods, its blood and feathers smeared along the bow, incense was lighted, gongs beaten and sails hoisted. The little launch eased away from port to face the eighty five rapids above them. The glories of the upper Yangtze are its gorges; its torments are the rapids. Its awe- inspiring walls sculpted by water and wind climb some three thousand feet from the depths of their foundations of where the Yangtze breeches them, with foliage clinging to their sides for miles at a stretch. The upper end of Bellows Gorge had evidence of offensive and defensive military maneuvers done over a thousand years before. Huge iron cables were strung across the gorge supported by equally massive posts, to impede any boat that dared to challenge it. Men Lang the Hupeh military commander ordered the drilling of holes into the perpendicular cliff of seven hundred feet so beams could be fitted into them and thus made a zigzag ladder his men could climb up the precipice and surprise the enemy. Thus Wolfe at Quebec was preceded and surpassed many centuries before his time. Those holes of six inches square and fourteen deep remained visible until the recent creation of the Yangtze River reservoir.
  27. 27. The ascent of the rapids was a life entrusting experience that could never be forgotten. The boat pitched to and fro while bobbing up and down as in a pot of boiling water. A man on deck beat a gong as if his very life depended on it while another set off fire- crackers to scare away the river demons. Another two men were at the bow working its oar and shouting commands between the shore and tiller operators. A team of men called trackers, whose only clothing was a loin-cloth, pulled like mules on the tow rope a thousand feet in length. They jumped from rock to rock with the agility of squirrels, creeping along the cliff-sides hundreds of feet above the river like mountain goats. A man called the whipper with a split cane of bamboo raced along the line of trackers and beat the rope at appropriate times, though seldom striking any man. He would rush ahead of the team and kowtows to them; then jump to his feet and frantically yell from the top of his lungs flying past them, beating his stick about and acting like howling Dervisher in heat. You would enjoy a repeat of this performance over and again till gaining the heights these menacing obstacles of rock confronted. A tracker's reward for their services was $2.00 each trip, a bowl of rice per meal and a boat ride on down river traffic to once again flex their muscles. Western coaches and those who are bodybuilders could take a bit of advice from these “appreciative” occupations of labor. Rudyard Kipling was correct in saying, “the yellow clay the China-man is made from has much iron in it”. A wreck on the Yangtze was an everyday occurrence as accidents between slow ascending ships and quick descending ones on a confined space of water. Hundreds of lives were lost at a time as trackers with strained muscles and set faces tugged with every ounce of strength they possessed. Suddenly an eddy would tack the boat uncontrollably or rip a seam open, pulling all involved into the depths of the raging torrent, never to be seen or heard from again. It is no wonder as to the superstitions and odd customs the river-men acquired, such as beating instruments of music, employing gun-powder and even bribing these river demons with cash as they tossed it overboard, along with the occasional piece of fruit to satiate their hunger.
  28. 28. The Chinese government had at strategic points along the river a coast guard to provide things like clothing, food, bedding and coffins at their stations. Only once in the many assents Virgil Hart made of the gorges was the boat he was prone to any real danger. The skipper made a terrible blunder at the height of one rapid that caused the boat to turn on its side, nearly capsizing it. The cargo shifted, bottles smashed, tables overturned and wood splintered with food, red-hot stove ash and personal possessions were all mixed together. Every three to four miles the skyline was breeched by white pagodas that were built more than five hundred years before Christ. These were smoke tower beacons in times of war to warn of advancing enemy. These towers are still religiously kept in repair and strangely served as lines of communication with the then modern telegraph wire strung between them, its operator and courier residing next to the Buddha. It could be jokingly said that the messages were divine transmissions delivered at lightning speed. There were days to wait out in ascending the rapids and forays to see the botany and geological formations of the surrounding hills as a way to kill time. One day after spying a small home high up on the hill, the three missionaries decided to make a call and found an old man and young boy scratching at the soil trying to encourage the meager vegetables to grow. How surprised with fear to have white men come falling out of the sky to startle and harass them! Their fears were allayed after a few words of Chinese were spoken, but not understanding the local dialect, Virgil Hart could only make himself partially understood. They were intrigued by the silver watch and chain and were convinced it allowed one to see over one thousand li. Attempts were made to explain, but the natives assured each other they were not to be fooled so easily. When Virgil held the watch up to the man’s ear, the efforts to summit the hill were worth it to see the facial expressions the man and boy shared after listening to it. They were directed to a spring where the Chinese were entertained by the means at which the lowei drank. The young boy ran to a tree and picked its leaves to fashion them into a cup. Virgil Hart attempted to duplicate the boys’ efforts in vain and how content the boy was after he saw he could do something the foreigner with the living clock could not. XIV "The Chinese Tartarus" After the perilous rapids were passed, the river widened and a broad valley was found with the city of Fengtu at its shores. A well worn footpath that had been in use for over a
  29. 29. thousand years connected the temples that dot its hillsides. Virgil Hart observed in one temple nine coiled serpents whose bodies were draped over the roof beams with heads dangling above the worshipers below. The serpents were objects of homage and veneration, with eyes wide and mouths flared. The chief object of pilgrimage to Fengtu was to see Yen Lo Wang, the king of infernal regions who holds the life and destiny of every mortal in his hands. Before his image were many species and types of varied offerings including eyes, paws, hands and other parts as thankful tributes for miraculous cures. Another unique feature was the incarnation of Yen Lo Wang’s wife who is said to have been a beautiful maiden who came to pay homage and lost one earring exquisitely wrought and inlaid from precious metals and stones, emblematic of her purity. She searched in vain with the aid of a priest and after she left the priest returned and found it in the hand of Yen Lo Wang. He also received a revelation that the maiden's fate was tied to the sacred Yen. After returning home she told her parents how she was to become the spiritual bride of the god. The time of her death announced and she was made ready as if it was a wedding. As she became weaker towards the appointed time a violent storm frightened her parents out of the home and when they returned, she was gone. Remembering her words they ran to the temple to see their daughter’s body in possession by the priests who recognized it by the earring and now was spiritualized flesh which must be enshrined in the temple as Yen’s wife. She was presented with fine robes of satin and gilded her face to preserve it from contamination. Every year thereafter descendants of the Chen family made a pilgrimage to the shrine to replace the robes with new and remove the old ones. Also inside this temple were two Taoist genii who flourished two thousand years ago, sitting playing chess with a young boy by their side watching the game. The story goes he was a wood cutter that climbed the hill one day and found the genii at their game, and became caught up in their play. It was said he watched the game for over two hundred years and when he descended the hill found time had not stood still in his village. When he opened the door of his home he did not recognize anyone, his clothes were in tatters and he had the appearance of an old man instead of a boy. This is an eastern version of the Rip-Van-Winkle legend. Many superstitious Chinese over the centuries have believed that Fengtu is where the gates of Purgatory reside. A legend relates that a fifteenth century magistrate came into port and saw an identical boat flying his colors next to his. "How can this be?" Cried out the magistrate, "Have I been replaced?" He sent a card demanding an interview and yes he was the other magistrate, but of Tartarus, the city below. A time was arranged for the city above magistrate to visit the one below and the gates unsealed. While descending with his bearers a great tempest swarmed them, forcing his bearers to flee. The magistrate continued alone till reaching a room and requested to sit and sequestered.
  30. 30. He met the underworld magistrate face to face; The underworld magistrate was to switch places, informing the new magistrate he would forward all chains as the present ones were old and rusty. XV "The Seductive Viper" On every hand are waving fields of poppy-white, pink and dark purple flowers. A beautiful sight! But so sad to reflect that every head will help to kill some poor China- man!" Letter to Mrs. Hart Traveling from Ichang to Fengtu one was enthralled by the beauty of nature. The fields were ripe with produce even the humblest can grow, yet the people displayed a morbid shallow completion. Laborers by the score shared this death-like pallor while languishing in the terraced fields stepping up in increments till soil no longer can penetrate the rock on which it lays. Virgil Hart had entered what he thought was a field of wheat with its stalks raising from the well manicured soil. Upon closer inspection he saw it was not pods of grains at their ends, but the brown decayed head of a flower that lost its petals a month previous, with slice marks to extract the black poison they emitted. “Oh seductive viper, the curse of millions: who shall dare to stand up and present these degenerating people with an alternative", life giving force. How the ravages of opium were evident on the lower reaches of the Yangtze, yet he saw nothing equal to that of the province of Szechwan. The most fertile of fields that could feed a population four times the province's inhabitants was dedicated exclusively to the growing of the gorgeous, but poisonous poppy. So devoted to its cultivation were the local Chinese that the price of foodstuffs had reached a cost prohibitive stage. Rumor was that one third of the opium produced in China before the 1906 edict restricted its growth was grown in Szechwan. More than half the men and a third of the women were addicted to the pipe. It provided a cheap escape from the dull weariness of life the average Chinese person pursued due to limited finances and resources. A description tells an account of coolies who for eight days walked twelve hours per day in torrential rain, on muddied paths and forded swollen rivers under the weight of 50-60 pounds. They came utterly exhausted to a comfortless inn with no fire, or change of clothing; no beds save a brick kang with a ragged mat to sleep on or blanket to cover
  31. 31. them. For sustenance they consumed rice, bean curd or gruel and was no wonder they curled up around the kerosene light, rolling a black bead and sucking on thick white smoke till they passed out from the combination of inebriation and weariness. There is no historical record that the poppy was cultivated in China, except for medicinal purposes, until the Portuguese and then British began trade relations with the Middle Kingdom. Ignoring the protest of the Chinese government, the British East India Company smuggled its Bengal grown opium into various ports of China. In 1840 the Emperor was so alarmed by the opium scourge he ordered an Imperial Commissioner Lin to put an end to the nefarious traffic. Lin’s actions brought him into collision with the British traders with his confiscation of 20,000 chests of opium resulting in the First Opium War. British gunboats went along China’s rivers and coasts terrorizing its citizens till the Chinese government capitulated and ceded all concessions the victorious British demanded. Prior to this the Chinese government did not tolerate the cultivation of the poppy for drug consuming purposes, but after the Second Opium War ended the Chinese government was forced by the treaty of Tien tsin to legalize the traffic and guarantee protection of the cursed foreign trafficker. The Chinese government did not want a product it could grow itself draining the nation’s treasury of silver, so that by the start of the 20th century, six sevenths of the drug consumed by the Chinese was native grown with the quantity of consumption increasing to seventy times more than what was smoked one hundred years earlier. England developed an enviable reputation of being a fair and honorable trading partner, yet the opium trade stands out as a hideous exception. Being a deep, dark, damnable plot upon her name where the good of the weak was exploited deliberately and cruelly sacrificed to the commercial interests of the strong. There is now some satisfaction to know as China freed herself of this struggle the slavery opium spawned, she was assured of sympathetic co-operation and support England later provided to correct its greatest wrong against China. China fought a brave and desperate battle in its quest to rid the country of this scourge. By 1917 it was estimated the growth, sale and consumption this evil caused was to be no more, though much blood was shed and property destroyed along the way. So loyal and thorough some Viceroys were at the time, that hardly a poppy plant remained in their provinces making the victory complete and permanent.
  32. 32. Opium smokers in a den. XVI "The Re-established Mission" The Chunking Mission was begun in 1882, by L.M.Wheeler D.D., financed through donations by J.F. Goucher D.D., of Baltimore, Maryland U.S.A. Chunking was chosen for its proximity to many navigable rivers, and major roads to Szechwan cities its large population of seven hundred thousand, and the sixty million people who passed through it to the outside world. Many months of property searching finally paid off in renovating Chinese buildings to provide a chapel, school and residences for the staff. In 1886, they added another parcel three miles from the ports on the Chengtu road. Construction of buildings was already in progress when the military cadets arrived for their triennial examinations and many of them holding an anti-foreign sentiment launched all types of preposterous innuendo and fear mongering rumors over the newly acquired property. “The homes are really forts with cannon to rain down shot to destroy the
  33. 33. city”. Another claimed to have procured a book showing a dragon around the city with its head immersed in one river and its tail a few miles away in another river. The mission station was above the neck crushing the dragon, and if building was not ceased, then all kinds of drought, famine and pestilence would befall upon the city’s inhabitants. The rioting that resulted from these inflammatory remarks lasted for several days of looting and destruction all the mission stations, and all the foreign missionaries were driven out. Bishop Fowler assigned the task to Virgil Hart to re-establish the missions proper. When Virgil Hart and his two associates entered Chunking again in 1887 they hoped to do it quietly, but unfortunately they were spotted and a small mob formed, trying to get a better look at the foreigners. Soon the whole city knew who they were and why they were there and questioned their rationale. “Foreigners are queer beings --- we taunted them, destroyed their property and drove them out, and yet more new faces replace the former". The crowd was parted by the elbowing of the secretaries of the Tao Tai of the city demanding their passports and inquiring of their intentions and future movements. They were accompanied by a native preacher who had given the missionaries little trouble, though feathered his nest during and after the riots by salvaging, then selling mission property that had escaped destruction. He meagerly sought an interview, having rehearsed a long and detailed story about how he had stood up to the marauding bands, and was later persecuted by local and official alike for his protecting the unfortunate “Foreign Devils”. On cue he rocked into almost uncontrollable spasms of weeping as Virgil Hart quickly ended the skit and dismissed the charlatan to compose himself. The city was scoured by the Superintendent’s native tutor for several days to find suitable dwelling to resume the mission's work. After a partially destroyed home was found near the mission grounds, Virgil Hart immediately went to inspect it. Wanting to avoid any stalling schemes by the officials, Mr. Hart dutifully notified them about the agreement for the dark, decaying and moldy old mansion the degenerate scion of the Loh family had rented them for three hundred dollars per year including heavy furniture. A proclamation was made to inform the city residents the missionaries were once again among them and pasted up by the front gate reading as follows: “This Edict is published to make you acquainted with Virgil Hart of America and others who were sojourning in Chunking. Wherever they may have their dwelling, it is reasonable and just they should be respected. Having issued this Edict to expect that all soldiers and civilians-all classes- will make its acquaintance. If after its issue there are any loafers about the place, sitting or lying around, using uproarious language, or should there be idlers and drunkards making trouble, they should be punished severely and not be pardoned. Let each one tremblingly obey and by no means you rebel against this special Edict. Thirteenth year of Kwang Su, Fourth Moon, Sixth Day. Be certain to paste this upon the dwelling of the American teachers that all may be notified”. Considering the proclamation came from the hand of the very one or two officials who inspired the looting and rioting done by the
  34. 34. populace a few months before the anti-foreigner disturbances, Hart exclaimed, “such was the irony of fate”. Two weeks after arriving in Chunking, Mr. Faber hired a boat to take him to Kaiting on the Min River, a tributary of the Yangtze three hundred miles distant, to test the reception a foreigner would receive. Then he proceeded to the refreshing slops of Mt. Omei for a few weeks of rest and recuperation. A month later Virgil Hart and Dr. Mortley traveled by sedan chair to Chengtu and later rendezvoused at the mountain. The Tao tai insisted they have an escort of soldiers to protect the group of two missionaries, their band of coolies and provisions from any hooligans who might happen to think the foreigners a tempting target. The imposing little procession with its lead man, banner in hand and swaggering with his new found sense of mission, cleared the way for the parade of followers to easily advance along the busy wide, paved road lined with orange and mulberry groves and interspersed by fields of cereal grains. They passed through market towns at intervals of ten miles and saw Chinese with wide eyes of disbelief taking notice of the lowei (foreigner). Spanning the roads at conspicuous points were massive stone arches in memory of some past virtuous woman honored and loved by family and neighbors alike. Leaving the main road at Lungchang the party made its way to visit the brine wells at Tzeliutsing, a two days journey along marginally safe roads, so additional reinforcements swelled its ranks. Noxious orders emitted from crossed stream-beds indicated the proximity of the Tzeliutsing, a city built around more hills than Rome. Its busy steep streets were a challenge to advance with merchants and wares competing with shoppers for room. Salt was the primary commodity as well as bamboo for scaffolding and pipe to tap the gases and conduct its flow. Virgil Hart sent his teacher ahead to secure lodgings for the night but the hotels refused to board the foreigners, complaining business would be hampered by all those wanting to gawk. When their party halted in the square to debate their options; a spontaneous excited crowd emerged. Their Honan teacher received the bright idea of marching the jaded coolies a half a mile up a steep hill to occupy the branch magistrate’s office. Announcing their arrival with cards and after waiting the proper time delay with no response, the teacher and escort threw open the doors of the guest house and conducted themselves in with grand ceremony, bolting the doors behind to leave the mob outside. The menials about the Yamen were no less surprised than the clamoring crowd outside by this flanking maneuver. They were told the official was out of town when in reality he
  35. 35. was less than twenty paces with a wall of separation between them. Underlings rushed about with instructions from the absent official to offer courtesy with tea as they leisurely sat under the cool awnings of the guest-hall. The teacher insisted on converting the hall into a bed and dining room for the distinguished guests, with the secretary saying it was impossible, being jealous of the protection prerogative bestowed on the party. As Virgil Hart expected, a hotel was finally reserved with the best rooms at their disposal. A parade of soldiers led them through a bewildered crowd to their awaiting rooms. The proprietor in his re-adjusted state of mind met them to extend blandish courtesies while directing them to their rooms, thus ending the first day of the Tzeliutsing adventure. The following day found the missionaries touring the nearly two thousand year old salt wells, some of which were operated by twenty generations of one family. Several wells were three to five thousand feet in depth. It was baffling to the more scientific Westerners to know how clumsy bamboo drills could bore to such depths. It was such a sight to watch the water buffaloes, some half a dozen each, pull the long bamboo tubes or buckets up from the depths of the well. They pulled and strained as their momentum increased into a trot with the driver shouting commands, while the long rope wound around a huge cylinder located a few yards from the derrick. After the brine solution filled a vat and the draft animals uncoupled, the tube was released to descend as fast as the rope unwound from the cylinder and the frothy brine extraction process was repeated. Alongside these brine wells are what the natives called “Fire Wells” reaching similar depths which supplied the various factories with heat and light by means of very crude appliances.
  36. 36. (OWM) photo (OWM) photo
  37. 37. A journey of four days over lofty mountains brought the parade to the fertile valley which skirted the Min River and the Szechwan Provincial capitol city of Chengtu, the greatest of all western cities in China. Marco Polo found this city to be “very great and exceedingly rich” during his stay in the thirteenth century. Cheng-tu had few commercial or educational rivals, and possesses many ancient, beautiful temples and monasteries. It is the burial place of one of the emperors and birthplace to one of China’s greatest philosophical writers Lao tzu, founder of Taoism. Within the walled city were two more being the Imperial city and Manchu one. Outside its gates are still hundreds of miles or irrigation canals used for over two thousand years alleviating the plain of drought and assuring annual harvests of grains. Virgil Hart’s first impression were dismal likely induced by the stifling heat and carried down a malodorous street to an equally malodorous inn, requesting lime for the floor and mud plaster to fill the rat holed walls. This may have been the very inn where Mr. Hosie, British vice consular stayed when he found these words written on the wall. Within this room you will find the rats-at least a goodly score: Three catties each they are bound to weigh Or-e-en a little more. At night you will find a myriad of bugs-that smell and crawl and bite; If doubtful of the truth of this-get up and strike a light. Thinking this description erred on kindness of a Szechwan inn added: Within without vile odors dense; assail the weary nose. Behind the grunt-er, squeaks and squeals; which baffles all repose. Add clouds of tiny buzzing things, Mosquitoes if you please. Why bless me, they're actually fleas!
  38. 38. (VHMS) photo XVII "One Step From Heaven" What Jerusalem is for Christians, or Mecca is to Islam, Mt. Omei is to the Buddhist, who make pilgrimages from all parts of China, especially Thibet. “To the devout Buddhist its seventy monasteries, hundreds of temples and shrines, its numerous marvels and sacred relics, its cloud-enveloped summit towering more than eleven thousand feet and from which may be seen the “Glory of Buddha, make it the most precious spot on earth. To use the words of the Buddhist, it is but, “one step from heaven”. Virgil Hart who was steeped in Chinese religious lore, was anxious to walk the paths of this holy mountain which has figured so greatly in fable and story. As prearranged back in Chunking after the visit to Kaiting the coveted opportunity was afforded to satisfy the quest. Striking off at twilight on the 15th of July, with coolies, baggage men and Mr.Morley in tow, the party reached Omei Hsien late in the afternoon, which afforded a serene image upon the entrance to the village at the base of the mountain. The inns were swelling with pilgrims but accommodations were secured after much persuasion to allow the spreading of their mats on the floor of an inn. Stories abounded of the distances pilgrims had covered with one foot-sore monk hailing from Peking while another claimed to have prostrated himself every seventh step for one thousand miles with his earthly possessions suspended in two bundles from a bamboo pole. Tsai, Virgil Hart’s tutor noticed everyone had a bag of yellow incense to burn at the temples and shrines along the way, but the faithful were just as incensed to discover his was for a less holy purpose of containing the contents of pipe and tobacco. At the crack of dawn the following day Virgil Hart, along with Dr. Morley and throngs of pilgrims, began the long arduous accent of Mt. Omei. All ages and classes of society, especially women made up the contingents of staff carrying souls, each with a whittled dragon or tiger to be brightly painted on the top of the stave after returning from the trek to be preserved as a sacred souvenir. Beggars of all ages this muggy morning were at pre-defended territories willing to spin tales of their misfortunes to the gullible that stopped to listen. As they rose off the plain, the scenery around them became more enchanting with narrow arching bridges allowing only one to cross at a time. They were shaded by willows as a clear flowing stream cascaded over fog shrouded cliffs. Some bridges were ornamented with dragons whose heads faced upstream while the tails projected from the other side of the bridge. They were to ward off evil spirits. The dragon and tiger symbolize power, dominate features along the mountain. Shrines with half protruded tigers with fierce images to seem as if ready to pounce on the unsuspecting
  39. 39. worshiper. One still ascends the mountain by hewn steps carved into solid rock with flights of them being counted in the thousands. Gigantic Banyan trees with their branches draped over the steep craggy paths provided shade and solace for the coolies, who with nerves of iron, possessed wondrous prolonged endurance and strength hauling their human cargo toiling hither and yonder on the innumerable steps like foraging ants. There was a story of an American traveler being carried up this way. Suddenly the coolie stopped along the edge of a precipice and while at rest stooped down, so that the American hung over the abyss. His forced sigh of relief after the coolie stood back up, caused the carrier to remark, “Relax, I was just removing a pebble from between my toes”. The American looked down to see he was standing on one leg! Ten miles of journey brought the travelers to a dense ravine cutting through limestone till cliffs through which torrents of water rushed with sprays of mist as the suns rays pierced them to reflect colors of the rainbow. Not far from the head of this gorge, enveloped by overgrown thicket alive with bird and monkey alike, they approached the three hundred hacked stone steps of the “Shen Wan Mansz-Holy Monastery of the Myriad Years”. Mr. Faber, who they had not seen for six weeks, was there to greet his fellow missionaries with cups of hot tea supplied by the monks. Later, the exhausted lot was shown to their rooms for their stay on the mountain. They were awakened long before sunrise by the gong and sonorous bells calling the monks to morning prayers. They arose to make a circuit of the venerable pile made sacred by eights centuries of worship and famous by homage of emperors, princes and sages leaving pious and costly gifts. The harmonious beauty of the place left an indelible impression in Virgil Hart's mind. The towering spires back-dropped against waves of cliffs, ledges and sloping spurs shrouded by mist released from crystal streams as songsters chirped and monkeys howled, while the long lines of ascending pilgrims resembling ants in the distance still bewilder the imagination. How accurate a description Virgil Hart had heard in his own land, thinking it can’t be true till his own eyes gazed upon its enchanted scenes. Many objects attract the visitor to Mt. Omei with one in particular having been a fifteen tiered pagoda of bronze with forty seven hundred intricately designed Buddha’s of varying dimensions and attitudes, all exquisitely wrought. The pagoda is quite aged and considered to be one of the finest monuments in all of China. A twenty thousand pound bronze ball with finely engraved characters recounting many historical incidents was suspended over an archway nearby.
  40. 40. Placed in a tray before a scarred image in the monastery, a red rag still hides one of the most venerated relics in the world---a tooth of the Buddha, being over fourteen inches long, eleven wide and three inches thick. Brought from India over one thousand years before, the yellow ivory elephant's tooth is stained and worn smooth by the ceaseless touching of pilgrims who are too gullible to ask any questions. Mr. Hart remarked to a priest nearby that Buddha must have possessed an enormous mouth, and he replied, “Yes, it is a matter I don’t fully comprehend”. The most interesting feature at the monastery to catch Virgil Hart’s eye was a nine foot tall pure bronze elephant being ridden by a bronze image of the god, Pu hsien, who as a sage came to Mt. Omei three centuries before Christ, riding on a white elephant. The bronze figures were housed in a square brick building, symbolizing earth, with a revolving dome roof, symbolizing heaven. All its walls have seven shelves representing the seven stories of Buddhist heaven, filled with thousands of little bronze idols. Lying upon a couch in close proximity to the elephant, under two cotton spreads is Wofuh (Sleeping Buddha), asleep for ten centuries, as the reverent pilgrim gazes upon what they believe is the actual body of their unconscious deity. Calling to them eight thousand feet above was the summit of Mt. Omei, for when conditions are favorable one can see the “Glory of Buddha”. This is a feature no pilgrim with the strength to climb or nerve to ride omits from their stay on the mountain. On a cloudless morning in late July found Morley and Hart starting their dizzying ascent. Every two to three miles were rest stations with lodging and meals for the tired traveler. After a weary climb of ten miles a thick fog halted their advance by the Si Siang temple. Describing their views Virgil Hart boasted not a spot on earth has as lush vegetation or scenes more picturesque. There were multiple varieties of foliage, colors of every hue, while insect, butterfly and bird pleased the eye and ear. A pool nearby was said to be where Pu hsien was to have bathed his elephant during his sojourn on the mountain. As evening light faded and the cool air was keenly felt, a charcoal fire was lit for the guests. Fortified by hot coffee the next morning the travelers struck out for the final stage of the climb. While they rested on a narrow ridge one could see the mighty Min River some forty miles distant, and to the south were majestic snow covered mountains of the Thibet frontier. Observing the lowei in rapt gaze, a priest exclaimed the lofty peaks were thirty days journey by foot. After several hours of further climbing they reached a tunnel with words inscribed above, “One Step from Heaven”. Excited ascending travelers hurried along while descending ones' faces showed the mark of contentment. They reached the summit temple at the close of the second day, tired though exultant by their efforts.
  41. 41. Little rest was afforded by excited guests loudly conversing or immersed in opium smoking, eager for the coming day. While exploring the summit the next day it was noted their accommodations were just footsteps away from a cliff with an uninterrupted fall of one mile. The weather was most unpredictable with a cloudless sky, rays of scorching sun one moment, and then enveloped by a dense mist that rose from the gulfs below as lightning bolts were discharging beneath them rather than from above. From a head-rock by the precipice the pilgrims were rewarded with the “Glory of Buddha”. Into the depths come daily the parading clouds from north to south with not a peak exposed as the gauze shrouded mists rise until the cliffs are mirrored within the bright white walls. As the observer is standing by the rock edge with the sun shining on them, a shadow will appear away on the clouds with an exceedingly bright halo cast around it. Changing in size and illumination as the clouds dance about. Stretch forth your hands and the shadowed image does likewise as the mists thicken and rise further, and the “Glory” disappears. While caught in this trance pilgrims intentionally or not throw themselves over the abyss. Many are fixated on the image unconcerned with their surroundings, causing many to perish prematurely. The giddiness one feels to observe such a natural aureola phenomenon causes one to inadvertently advance, unaware of the seriousness of these repercussions. Adam’s Peak in Ceylon and the Spectre of the Brocken in the Hartz Mountains share a similar occurrence. The devout Buddhist holds the manifestation of the Buddha’s spiritual presence to be an object of veneration and worship. The two missionaries spent ten days on the summit slopes of Mt. Omei and one day the spirit of adventure had them following a lumberman’s trail zigzagging down the south slope of the crag. Having scarcely a foothold on the rocks they at times stepped onto half-decayed sticks mixed with earth banked up against the eroded rock surface, with below only yawning chasms. They arrived at a ledge where a ladder’s other end was yet another ledge that sloped downwards for several hundred feet. Serious personal reflection was debated as to the commitment required to continue as the path grew worse with every step. Finally two logs were spiked together with notches hacked out for foot- holds, and Hart felt ashamed when encountering two lumberman yoked with three planks each, fourteen feet long, one foot wide and two inches thick. The return trip had them pulling along where those men sauntered around the obstacles with ease. Upon arrival at the lumberman’s forest they enjoyed an hour of unalloyed bliss, with three of the botanical specimens found to be first discoveries. Virgil Hart’s room at the summit temple opened out into a courtyard where gods were enthroned. One morning as he emerged two pilgrims who were prostrating themselves before the idols, observed the lowei. Never had they seen an image as such before in their lives. Turning quickly from their idols they fell to their knees knocking their heads on the floor saying "O-mi-to-fu, O-mi-to-fu; A-mi-ta Buddha-A-mi-ta Buddha!” Such
  42. 42. “benighted souls!” How the missionary’s heart went out to the devout vainly groping after peace and comfort. As one Omei monk said “I feel for the door, but can’t find it”. Dr. Virgil Hart & Wei Ching-Abbot of Mt. Omei XVIII "For Canada" In mid August, 1887, they left Mt. Omei and a few days by boat returned them to their point of origin, Chunking, where Mr. Caddy was winning over the hearts and minds of the people and officials of this city. Virgil Hart’s nemesis malaria reappeared in a most
  43. 43. virulent form and he decided the stalled trip back stateside was long overdue. The down- river trip was exceedingly difficult and dangerous due to an already swollen river having generous additions of rain. Many a wreck floated by with a kind of provenance assuring grief would not strike their own. Passing through Wind-Box Gorge the current caught the craft and sent it spinning like a top towards sharp rising rocks they barely grazed. “I cannot think of anything more exciting recalls Virgil Hart....one ascent and descent is enough thrills for a lifetime”. While on shore in the same gorge Mr. Morley almost lost his life while handing out literature. A ruffian dressed only in a loin-cloth snatched it away and when Mr. Morley attempted to retrieve it was grabbed about the neck and pulled into some deep swift flowing current. A struggle ensued with the lowei receiving the brunt of it while underwater: resorting to every trick he could think of to shake off his assailant, but the man was equally versed in the art of submersion too. When nearly exhausted he finally had the man relinquish his hold, reaching shore more dead than alive. The ruffian was quickly apprehended, arrested by the officials and severely punished. A large supply of fowl and vegetables were offered as consolations to Mr. Morley and did much to mollify his feelings of the circumstance. Virgil Hart made it to Kiukiang in time for the annual Central China Mission meeting and in December, 1887, sailed from Shanghai to San Francisco. Five weeks later he reunited with his family in Canada, who were staying with relatives of Adeline. His first few months on furlough were spent preparing his first book for publication, Western China, A Journey to the Great Buddhist Centre of Mount Omei. While engaged in mission work he was busy taking copious notes of all he had seen and might be of interest to those in the west. A reviewer from the New York Tribune wrote,” It was graphic, picturesque and extremely interesting; a fresh, bright, and really interesting book of travels”. A little later his second book debuted of a popular treatment of salient features of Confucianism called, "The Temple and the Sage”. In 1888, Virgil Hart was made a member of the Royal Asiatic Society for his literary work and Chinese scholarship work whose distinction rewarded him greatly. Also in that year his former Alma-Mater conferred the title Doctor of Divinity. The complications of severe strain coupled with the responsibilities assumed and requested took a toll on his constitution, making evident the normal furlough of one year would not suffice to restore him back to health. In 1889, under the advice of his physician, Virgil Hart resigned as superintendent of the central and west China missions, much to the regret of his many friends and colleagues. He spent part of a year relocating his family from Canada to upstate New York and undertook the position of Mission Secretary of the Christian Alliance, but this work was too demanding and distracting
  44. 44. from his goal of returning to China. The Methodist Missions of Canada had but one station in Asia located in Japan, and was aching to put up more, yet the location was elusive; the West Indies, Palestine or even China was considered. Several men who were soon to finish medical school had volunteered their services upon graduation, but there was no administrator yet coming forward to assume the position. In 1890, a resolution was drawn up to have a mission station ready by 1891 and donations came pouring in. Similar resolutions were also made by the Woman’s Missionary society with a call for volunteers. With these measures past came the decision of where to locate it. The Rev. Wakefield had many conversations about it with Dr. Hart and early on he suggested without reservation Szechwan, with its teeming masses that was almost an empire to itself and presently only two protestant stations were there and in Chunking. In February of 1891, Dr. Hart's recommendation of the capital city of Chengtu was accepted. During the same meeting it was proposed by a member that Dr.Virgil Hart with his decades of experience and thorough knowledge of its customs and language would be the ideal candidate to head this contingency. After several days of consideration he accepted on condition it was approved by the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States. XIX "The First Contingent" Dr. Hart looked at this appointment as a tremendous opportunity, as he first went to China as a mission representative for the United States, now he was returning to represent Canada, in a vital part of the country that was devoid of such important work. He did not realize at the time how valuable his short yet full experience in Szechwan to re-establish the Chunking mission would be to pave the way for his return. Dr. Hart was urged to return to his former post, but resigned for health reasons while doing work for the cause at home. “Now I am to lead forth a contingent to the very place where I left off my previous work... Who knows what the future will behold? The band of missionaries the Canadian Society put together for West China was one of long veteran service committed to the advancement of the cause, including Dr. and Mrs. Hart and their daughter Estella. Several months time elapsed from the time the board had made their final decisions and when the missionaries would leave providing ample time to solicit donations for the mission’s hospital, girl’s boarding school and residences from the many Christian conferences being held along the eastern seaboard that summer. When ready to make sail, Dr. Hart was content to know the funds to build, staff and supply the station were in his pocket. A farewell service at the Elm Street Church in Toronto was held on September, 1 1891; with all missionaries reading words to be
  45. 45. remembered by after the sermon was read. A issue of God-speed was harked by the congregation prior to the dismissal of the crowd. As the party moved towards port more donations were collected at the train stops as word of their coming preceded their arrival. In London large congregations filled Queen Avenue Church to listen to the Rev. David Hill of the Hankow mission describe life in China. Besides the money raised for the cause, “the spirit of the occasion manifested by the people of the city”, was reason for his personal celebration. During three days in Victoria he addressed a large gathering of Chinese who vied with one another to manifest their good will and generosity. They gave a reception in honor of the missionaries followed by a sumptuous repast. A good many of them came to bid the group adieu with a fresh round of new donations to be added to the swelling pile already amassed. “The Empress of China” lifted anchor and the mooring ropes stored for the trip to Japan. They stopped in Hakodate to re-bunk the coal beds and later, made a two day port call at the base of a living volcano in Yokohama. The missionaries did sight-seeing, were entertained and gave speeches about their of intended purpose. Three years later Dr. Hart received a letter from one former speech attendee who desired to serve the mission in Chengtu. The group was in Kioto enjoying breakfast when the building began to sway uncontrollably and if quick thinking had not prevailed in seeking escape to safety out in the open, all would have been crushed by the collapsing chimney that splintered the table, shattered the tableware and left the contents of breakfast scattered and mixed with the brick, mortar, plaster and wood brought down in its wake. An aftershock was released during a service a short time later with five hundred students leaping upon the benches and rushing the doors. Order was quickly restored and continued where they had left off.
  46. 46. Coal bunking a ship Mt. Fuji from Hakone Lake Walking through the streets afterwards, Dr. Hart saw the demolished homes rendering its occupants homeless and railroad bridges yanked from their foundations, with gaps and
  47. 47. open crevices some miles in length. This was a trifle compared to the city they left just two days before feeling the brunt of the great shake, with ten thousand people dead and another near twenty thousand injured, terming the city “Wiped out”. Earthquakes and eruptions have contributed much to Japans wondrous beauty. After two very eventful weeks spent in Japan the missionaries landed in Shanghai on the 3rd of November. They had heard nasty rumors about the unraveling state of central China with the destruction of several missions and killing of foreign and native workers. The rumors were confirmed upon arrival. A tidal wave of anti-foreigner sentiments originating from the interiors of Hunan broke with full force along the lower reaches of the Yangtze. Shanghai was found to be a city of refugees, with missionaries hailing from all parts of the Middle Kingdom waiting for the violence to subside before returning to their respective fields. The three months spent in Shanghai were were beneficial for the newcomers who began learning the tonal language from Chinese teachers, and gleaning words of wisdom from missionaries with years of experience underneath their belts. A romantic spark became a marriage between two young hearts with Dr. Hart officiating, with the Woman’s Society coming to the aid in matters matrimonial, a precedent that would soon be needed more as the years progressed. The Canadian missionaries packed into the steamer on the 16th of February 1892, minus Adeline and Stella Hart, with one not having recovered from a serious fall. As the steamer chugged past the cities where Dr. Hart had a major hand in their contributions of development, he reflected how each one like a child was conceived, born and raised to have turned into productive members of the communities they resided in. Memories flooded his mind of times past, most good, some bad, with the outcome always favorable to his agenda. As the vessel made landings to ports along the way, an old familiar face would cross the plank to shake his hand and recall a tale or two with the weather worn, time tested sage. The steamer made a leisure tack up the Yangtze as Dr. Hart arrived in Ichang ahead of it to contract the boats required to continue their course unabated. The officers of the ship were hardly ever seen except on schedule like clockwork to inspect the operation of the craft. If it were not for the faithful Chinese crew the ship would have spiraled to a state of utter discombobulation, with the passengers left to fend for themselves. With surprising little trouble Dr. Hart was able to arrange two stout craft, but the test of wills was the delayed arrival of the missionaries who were held up a week by getting beached on a sandbar, thus a normal trip of two days ended up taking eleven. When the junks at Ichang finally hoisted their sails, it was the 16th of March, leaving behind the easily accessible means of communication and transportation to the western world.
  48. 48. Each day brought its share of thrills. A tale to share is when a Chinese boat captain defied the long line of upstream boats waiting their turns, and taking advantage of a breeze that allowed him to steer into the eddy of a downstream boat to tack past the others. Taunts and screams of anger were shot like cannon balls at the offending craft. They began to flail long bamboo poles down on the slower boats that required their poles to remain fast or lose the slow advance made going up the river. The excitement reached a crescendo when a man with axe in hand leaped onto the passing boat and proceeded to cleave a man in two from the base of his back. Those on shore whose yelling was for which party was questionable, was soon made apparent when their missiles of stones began hitting the targeted, offending boat. When the situation looked hopeless for the crew and craft, Dr. Hart appeared and all activity ceased. He managed to parley the captain into returning to the back of the line in order to restore the peace.
  49. 49. Eight days out of Ichang a memorable incident etched a dark shadow on every-one's soul. A man, dying from addiction to opium, was stretched out over a ledge not far above the waterline so nature could take its course. On deck the remaining crew burned incense, beat gongs and cymbals as fire-crackers exploded, in marked staccato similar to a soldier receiving a twenty-one gun salute, to ward off the demons and evil spirits rising out of the water to snatch the life and drag it down into the depths. When the missionaries learned too late the fate of the afflicted, they comforted the man as long as the captain stalled the boat’s progress. Afterward, ignoring the man's cause of death, the crew again was huddled on a mat wrapped around their oil lamp, inhaling from a bamboo pipe the viper’s curse that slowly engulfs the soul of those too weak to resist its temptation. The next day at port, Dr. Hart went to the Yamen to buy a small plot of land and paid a China-man handsomely to inter the body. Would it still be there or already washed away? Would the official and laborer follow through on their commitment, knowing perfectly well there is no way of verification if said acts were carried out? These are questions which only the cosmos can answer. The Canadians were most relieved when they reached Chunking after nearly a month aboard the two narrow ships. The Canadians' experiences were flights of fancy turned into personal reality; none ever dreamed he would be the lead celebrity in their own action picture film. Thus was reached the mid-point between Ichang and Chunking and though the river Min flowed in the opposite direction, the rest was going to be much smoother sailing than when they plied the Yangtze Gorges. In the stretch of the river where it connected with the Yangtze just below Kaiting, many fishermen still use bamboo skiffs and employ cormorants, tied at the neck so as not to swallow their haul, which dive into the depths to catch the fish. They are rewarded with a piece or two of the prey they snatched. Facing their beaks to the sky as they hurl these chunks down their throats once freed of the tie. The birds seem to enjoy the companionship of their handlers and the limited dry space afforded them on the deck. "Lounging on their long necks, wings outstretched, they slowly rise to shake off the beads of water accumulated on their bodies". The grooming of their feathers by man is similar to what a dog receives when being brushed. To watch a skiff being walked by its native owner from one pond to the next, supported by his shoulders underneath, with the length of pole occupied above by a row of birds is most interesting.
  50. 50. The clumsy cormorant appears rather daft on land, yet when wing meets water, its grace underneath is a skill not to be equaled. "As I stood gazing upon the birds a crowd of boys were inspecting me and dumbfounded when I spoke to them in their native tongue. Next came volleys of the queerest inquiries; given the once-over by a middle-aged man he confidently said I was a century old. Imagine my ego after told, to be "a centurion being 'straight and fat, can walk over thirty miles a day, jump and hop for as long as the youngest of children at the mission', to be assumed for a man almost twice my age. How surprised he felt when finding out he was five years my senior, gasping for a response that came out 'Well, your beard is white'. The gullible would believe me if I told them I was two hundred, with two perplexed souls convinced I was the Buddha incarnate himself back on Mt. Omei. Another with more gaps than teeth set in a big mouth with dark skin and short braid wound tightly about his head asked, 'How far is it and how do you get there?' When I told him the distance from Szechwan to Shanghai which is as foreign to them as the U.S., he scoffed at such a number. Informing him he would need to add myriads of li more to reach the western shores of North America assured him I knew nothing of what I was talking about. The lack of knowledge never ceases to amaze or the indifference to it. What decisions are made about China’s coast or plain, will not reach the province of Szechwan. They are concerned only about staple and bowl,

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